Tag: News

Bad News Does People No Good

The news makes me so sad. The state of the world, the way people see it and think about it and react to it – it’s hard. Perhaps it’s no different than any other time in history, we have learned about the chaos humans create…and endure. Chaotic times go back as far back as history remembers.

But it’s hard to fight for the calmness we humans so desperately seek when we’re surrounded by a deep unhappiness that spreads like a contagious virus.

I woke up to the news of United Airlines hurting a Chinese doctor because he would not give up his seat due to airline overbooking. He is an old man who just wanted to go home, but instead was sorely mistreated by airline employees. Ugh, horrible.

Or the story about children in several states being publicly shamed in school because they could not afford to buy lunch. Worse – denied lunch when the visible stamps on their hands say “I need lunch money.” And these children walk not just through a lunch line, but throughout their day in school, every day, stigmatized, humiliated and hungry.

So incredibly sad. And as we know, that’s not the half of it nor the worst stories “out there.” Some are too terrible to even absorb.

These are humans. People. Living, breathing, loving, and losing – people. The human race is losing. But haven’t we always? History seems to think so.

It’s easy to blame. We have a crippled democracy now, governed by a few who think it’s ok to hurt people and seemingly by no accident instill that mindset to ignite their cause. But it’s more than that. It’s the whole planet, all the way down to my street.

We live in an urban setting but ironically surrounded by nature that we see every day. Not just the usual squirrels or birds, but deer, coyote and wild turkeys. Recently traffic was stopped on my street because a large flock of turkeys was crossing the road – big, beautiful, slow turkeys.

One man continued to try to swerve his car around the long line of stopped traffic, honking, yelling out his window, flailing his arms and cursing at those of us who tried to point out that we were stopped for what looked and seemed so beautiful, so peaceful – creatures simply living their lives without concern about the turbulent world around them – but with great concern for each other.

You could see the bigger ones rallying the smaller ones, helping them cross the street. It was a Make Way for Ducklings moment right before our eyes. But the enraged man certainly couldn’t appreciate it. I think he would have run them over if he could. Sad.

I’m not sure what causes people to be so hateful. Whether we are optimistic or pessimistic, kind or cruel, observation over time shows we are who we are and that’s who we put out into the world.

There is beauty out there, sometimes it’s just really hard to see.

 

 

Really, Why All The Fear?

Fear-based living. Hate it! Every time I turn around there is some ridiculous, strange, scary, even unheard of thing being reported in the news or on my Facebook feed. People are dying, killed, missing, sick or will be – let’s face it, we’re all doomed.

I actually stopped watching the news and scrolling my social media feeds beyond what’s right at the top quite some time ago.

I don’t know if there are statistics out there on this but is it possible that the top of our feed has all that we need to see at any given moment? Like we see only what we are “supposed to” see for us and our lives? Or we flip TV channels and when we stop on one we see a commercial or news story that resonates with us – do you ever wonder if seeing that particular thing was “meant to be?”

And if not, how do we keep only what we need and discard the rest – especially in this new world of “fake news?”

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I popped on Facebook recently and the first post was that my town is on a local news magazine show for being a “super town,” where you get the most bang for your buck and quality of life – strong community, good schools, green space and urban slant. Great, that’s my home sweet super home. So I clicked the link to see the preview and in the sidebar were all these other stories:

Woman pleads guilty to raping two underage boys. (OY.)

Man kept stolen brain beneath porch, used it to get high, police say.  (REALLY?)

How you can buy a house for $1.00 in Milwaukee. (SURE.)

25-year-old dies while live-streaming on Facebook.  CLICKED IT.

They got me. I clicked one of the links and watched the two-minute video that did not show the actual death (thank goodness,) but told the story, leaving out the most important part. How she died. And get this – nobody went to check on her until 30 minutes after her live stream crashed!

I wondered if it was a fake story so of course I googled it, it wasn’t fake. I didn’t click any more, I closed my browser and felt kinda sick. I was sick anyway, my third round of some plague that keeps recycling in our family. This makes me pretty upset because I do all I can to stay healthy: self-care, yoga, meditation, eat right, take very expensive all-natural daily vitamins, I wash my hands constantly and Purell at every turn, especially during flu season. Why? I fear the plague. I don’t get a flu shot – it’s not one-size-fits-all (google it,) and until this year rarely got the “flu.” I am not even sure it’s the actual flu, or a reasonable facsimile. But I’ll check the top of my Facebook feed to find out.

Yep, we live in a world where fear rules and while I don’t want to, part of me resides there. I bet we all do and just don’t talk about it.

Seriously. She was 25! 

 

peace

Yea, I’m Sensitive, So What?

sensitive heart

I’m finding myself a little sensitive lately. Ok that’s not true, I’m always sensitive, in fact, I’ve been this way forever. I can’t help it. Nature or nurture, it doesn’t change the fact that I take things deeply and to heart without trying.

A lot is going on in the world right now that calls for us to sensitively desensitize. Every week there are more tragedies that cross the bad-news line. So how do we desensitize to protect our psyche, while our heart still continues to care? I haven’t mastered that yet, and some days it’s just too much. Holing up and turning off the world isn’t really an option, and won’t change the fact I’m still sensitive.

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A fuzzy memory from childhood about a little girl named Elizabeth still haunts me to this day. Her father yelled at her, “Toughen up Elizabeth,” when she wasn’t managing walking well on a cobblestone street. Elizabeth began to cry, and I remember feeling sad for her. It seemed insensitive, he blamed her for being unsteady and also for being upset.

I’ve heard those words forever. Toughen up. Usually followed by, you are so sensitive…what’s wrong with you….lighten up…get a grip…quit crying. 

It’s interesting how people place blame when we aren’t reacting how they expect us to. And nobody wants to take responsibility for hurting someone’s feelings – intentionally or not. Instead they place blame on the sensitive person. That of course then crushes them – as if something is wrong with them for feeling deeply.

For years I thought something was wrong with me because I don’t have any narcissistic traits and it seems that self-serving edge is what is needed to survive in this world. Although a pre-occupation with self is not something to aspire to, nor is a complete lack of empathy – both a narcissist’s m.o. There must be a happy medium, which I’d really love to find. But when I did some research I learned I may be doomed.

Highly sensitive people have a differently-wired brain that needs a comfort-zone. We’re reactive, and are capable of feeling the whole spectrum of emotions as if they’re right on our sleeve. We’re intuitive, polite, people-pleasing types who have trouble saying no. And our sensitivity doesn’t stop at our feelings. HSPs have sensitive nervous systems too, we struggle with bright lights and loud noises, which makes it easy to stress out.

It isn’t a surprise then that I have trouble watching the news, or being blamed for being sensitive when I’m just being myself. I wish I could tell this to Elizabeth. Walking on a cobblestone sidewalk is hard. In fact, it may hurt, just like when people tell you to toughen up.

It’s ok to embrace this character trait without any harsh self-judgement. Being sensitive is special, no matter what others may say. In fact, it’s courageous. The world needs more compassion — sensitive people, head to the front of the line.

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The Road To Confidence Need Not Pass Through Iowa

The field of political dreams story done by national news treasure Tom Brokaw, who still has his journalistic mojo, was the first thing I’ve seen this election year that made any sense to me. Just a small story blip in the big Iowa caucus picture, his story asked why is Iowa the end-all be-all state for these presidential hopefuls. Iowa is not representative of the diversity in our country, in any way, shape, or form. So what’s the big Iowa deal?

While this may sound naive, beyond the Brokaw story I didn’t really think much about Iowa…ok, maybe about the corn. Our nation’s politics are a duck-and-cover situation, and we still have a long way to go. This is the first time seasoned-journalist Sir Husband has actually avoided the news. What matters more to me is the way these candidates have the courage to stand up and say they’re the best pick for the job.

How do you make it to Iowa? Not just to the level of running for president, but to that extraordinary level of confidence? I’d like to tap into that. It takes a lot of courage to not just say, but feel you are the best. I’ll stay away from the narcissism theory, although it may be true. I’m going with the concept that intentions and hard work, focus and actions, and thoughts and incredible belief, will take you to the top of the food chain, along with a fairy tale message.

Sir Husband and I have cast our nets far and wide in the great big pond of jobs, but we aren’t getting any bites, and wondered if there are any fish. Of course there are fish. But what if the bait is confidence, and we are a little weary on that scale, despite our own self-proclaimed fairy tale?

We do have dreams. Yes, even at this age, I don’t think dreams ever really die. They may mute a bit, or even derail, but don’t really ever go away. Do presidential hopefuls dream that they will run for president? Or do they wake up one day and say, “Wow, I could do that job so much better than anyone else. I should go for it.”

And let’s talk about their gusto. Their energy levels well-exceed the norm. How does one acquire that kind of stamina? Is it learned or built-in or is it the sheer endorphin high that rides them to the finish line? I’d like some of that too.

I think it all comes back to courage, and either we’ve got it or we don’t. Our dreams could build our courage, or our courage could build our dreams. But without one or the other, we may not get too far.

So as I watch this election unfold I’m looking at their faces, their eyes, their bodies, their gestures, their nonverbal cues. I’m trying to read between the lines, and see what’s got them rolling. Because ruling requires more than stamina, it requires a specialness from within. Maybe the folks in Iowa are adept at seeing to the core. And if that’s the case I’ll pay attention to what their thoughts do bring.

But my own are focused on what it takes to feel enough courage to win. I don’t mean in an election, I mean what matters to me. Because we all have our own field of dreams, we just have to have the courage to build it. And sure, some fairy dust too.

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photo by Jeffrey Blackwell

Depends on Who Wears the Pants

It has come to my attention that we do not really need cable TV to satisfy our underlying peeping Tom interest in celebrities. I turned on the Today show for literally one minute before I ran out for my hair appointment, and what do I see but a blurred-out image of Lenny Kravitz’s privates on our small big screen. (It’s only 32 inches, small by comparison.) Turns out Kravitz is Al Roker’s cousin, true story, but that’s not why he made their morning news line up…and the rest of the world’s.

Good for Lenny to not be embarrassed when his tight leather pants split wide open and his parts fell out. Turns out the whole debate on NBC’s five minutes of morning news was whether men would be or should be embarrassed if their package is revealed in a split second to the world. The answer was, it depends on the man and the package.

In all honesty I was a little curious but found it more cringe-worthy than anything. I don’t really care what people look like naked, and only decided to google it because I’m married to a journalist, and I, too, play one on TV.

The debate in Sir Husband’s newsroom was about why women’s parts are totally acceptable to be shown on TV, but men’s frontals are not usually shown. And according to my sources, throughout history most of the censors who regulate the content have been men. To show the revered penis would be abhorrent, what if men are found out to really have “less than” in reality. Imagination is much better say the censors. But not for Lenny.

This it not a Family Guy blog post or even my take on the debate. It will not change the facts that women’s parts are commonplace in the public eye, and Lenny Kravitz is now a hero.

I prefer to think about this as a non-judgment kind of message. I won’t get the world to join hands on this, but I can certainly think about myself. We can be our own worst critics, comparing ourselves to others and hating how we look.

Sure, I lived through a few years of teenage bulimia to try to fit in. I’ve been brunette with shades of red, and blond with shades of brown. I’ve had contacts instead of glasses, and I own some tummy-sucking Spanx. And it’s even still hard for me to truly and fully believe a compliment.

Why do we judge ourselves so harshly, whether it’s our hair color or body measurements, or shoe size? And whose standards are these anyway? We know the answers to that if we look at the surface, it’s conditioning. It’s both the media’s idea of a perfect woman, which is always changing, and it’s also whatever we were taught in our own little worlds by our family and friends.

But if we take a deeper look, it’s about being happy with who we are: confident in our one-of-a-kind body, secure in our individual mind, and loving in our unique spirit. We know all of this intellectually.

So does Lenny Kravitz. Maybe his accidental exposure will send a new message to the world. Don’t measure yourself or anything else, against any other standards but your own. And if you do, you better be newsworthy.

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